5 cool things from Merida, Spinergy, Microshift, Specialized and Brooks
After a week off, and fewer deliveries than normal (!) we are back with five very cool things in on test. We've got another set of Spinergy wheels, an evolution of the 'string' spoke wheels, new shoes from Specialized and a wide range 1x9 speed drivetrain from MicroSHIFT, plus more. Dig in....
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Spinergy GX Max gravel wheelset
Spinergy has just introduced the brand new GX Max wheelset (both 650B and 700c) into the range. The brand's motocross wheels have provided a host of inspiration for these new gravel hoops with the aim to create mega strong, wider wheels for extreme gravel riding. If you want to see what we think of the renowned PBO spokes (string!) spokes then check out our previous review of the narrower Spinergy GXC wheels here.
Merida Big.Trail 600
This Merida Big.Trail 600 sits at the top of the all-new 2021 range, offering a 12-speed drivetrain, Marzocchi fork with 140mm of travel and a sleek aluminium frame with all the modern features you'd expect and a retail price of £1,500. It's a hardtail designed for riders on a budget, we took a first look at the bike last summer and now have one in on test and there's an extra bonus that our test bike comes in a rather snazzy purple colourway in 2021.
MicroSHIFT Advent 9 speed drivetrain
The 9 and 10 speed Advent drivetrains from MicroSHIFt were launched in April last year, both being budget busting and offering a wide range of gears. We have the 9 speed Advent drivetrain on test, one that comes in either a 1x or 2x9 configuration. It's the former we'll be focusing on here, the 1x drivetrain comes with a wide ranging cassette using the following cog steps,11-13-15-18-21-24-28-34-42. In total the cassette, mech and shifter as you see it here will set you back £143.
Specialized 2FO DH shoes
Specialized launch a new 2FO DH shoe, not long after the release of the Roost trail shoe. The new downhill focused clip and flat shoes get the updated third generation Slip Not sole and, they say, a platform for ultimate foot security. All the details are here in our news story.
Brooks Scape Handlebar roll
The Scape Handlebar Roll from Brooks is designed for long distance touring as well as bikepacking races. It has a 10 to 12 litre capacity and consists of a 100% waterproof (IP64 certified) removable drybag stored in a holster that is attached to the bike. The drybag has a two sided roll closure and inside there’s two internal compartments.
The holster attaches—to both drop and straight bars—via two aluminium buckled straps. These promise to make mounting quick and reliable, while EVA spacers are included to allow easy passage of cables and a fuller grip. A double daisy chain also runs through the holster to hold bulkier items. Stuart Kerton has been filling up this roll bag for this latest adventure and his full report is coming soon…
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Current running Advent 1x9 with a 32t ring on my hardatil, it's going well, not put a single foot wrong in three months.
Beauty of 9 speed and single ring is that tolerances are much wider, meaning it's easier to set up and those skinny-chained 12sp rigs. Makes a lot of sense. Personally I have 10spd Deore (M5100) and that comes in at a similar price, but for a 11-51T cassette.
The Microshift Advent 9 speed is awesome, I recently installed it on cheap crossbike (so with roadshifters) and it was so easy to install and I haven't had a mis-shift yet. Also the price makes it an easy upgrade for old bikes or bikes that are likely to be destroid xD!
For an MTB I would get the Advent X because I believe the 11-48 is a better gear-ratio for mtb but for cross and gravel a 40T crankset + the 11-42 cassette works perfect.